At the end of 2020, Adobe will discontinue Flash, although Flash games have a significant historical significance. Thankfully, the Flashpoint community project is stepping up to preserve them. Here’s how you can continue enjoying all your favorite games for a while.
At the end of 2020, Adobe will “cease upgrading and distributing the Flash Player,” according to an announcement. The business urged developers of existing Flash content to switch to “new and open formats.”
These open technologies don’t need a third-party plugin, unlike Flash. Open-source software is frequently subject to more scrutiny. Anyone can examine the source code, search for vulnerabilities, and use the technology in their projects.
Plugins work with a closed source development approach, like Flash, the long-gone Silverlight, and the infamous Java browser plugin. A single organization that seeded all updates and repairs kept them up to date.
Flash acquired a bad image in the second half of the previous decade due to its numerous security issues, many of which were zero-day exploits that put consumers at considerable risk.
Apple took the lead in the movement by eliminating Flash. A long overdue move was compelled when the firm opted not to support Flash on the iPhone.
To replace Flash video containers, browser technologies like HTML5 evolved. Google had Chrome users run Flash in a sandbox before blocking it completely and refusing to index pages with Flash content.
Very few websites were still using Flash in 2020. What does this mean for the countless animations and interactive games that made the internet so entertaining at the turn of the millennium?
How to Use Flashpoint to Play Flash Games
Of course, the internet will keep all those venerable Flash games available. The solution is the free, open-source Windows program Flashpoint by BlueMaxima (Mac and Linux versions are in the works).
Though experimental Mac and Linux may build won’t support the entire repertoire. Testing revealed that the Mac version only supports slightly more than 30,000 titles right now.
You have the option of Flashpoint Ultimate or Infinity if you use Windows. Ultimate is the whole set. It requires about 300 GB of disc space to install and contains the entire archive of Flash content.
Only about 300 MB of free space is needed for Infinity to allow you to download games as you play them. You’ll have to settle for Infinity for the time being if you own a Linux or Mac computer.
To begin, click the “Games” option. In addition to the comprehensive “All Games” list, various game-related curated lists are shown on the left. Enter your search term in the window’s top search area if you want something specific. Double-click the item you wish to try when locating it, then wait for Flashpoint to launch.
The game took a while to start on the Mac version we tested. This is because Flashpoint must first run its server, redirect any assets based on the game you are playing, and then open a customized browser window to display the material.
The Flashpoint list of playable Flash games.
Check out the selected list for the “Flashpoint Hall of Fame” if you want to go right to the good stuff. There will surely be a few of your old favorites there, including Yeti Sports, QWOP, Portal: The Flash Version, and Alien Hominid.
With support for material created in Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave, HTML5, Java, Unity Online Player, Microsoft Silverlight, ActiveX, and other once-popular web plugins, Flashpoint bills itself as a “web game preservation effort.”
The project’s three primary parts are a web server, a redirector, and a launcher. These all work together to provide the impression that you are using the internet to get Flash content (and other types of technology).
Because Flash SWF files can be finicky, this is required. Some content uses resources from other servers, while others can only be accessed when housed on specific servers. Certain material tries to communicate with particular servers and won’t function if it can’t locate them.
The main goal of Flashpoint is preservation. These games require a great deal of locally hosted emulation of the technology. Flashpoint takes care of all this, so you can relax and play pandemic simulators and animated Happy Tree Friends like it’s 2003.
BlueMaxima is equally focused on creating the underlying technology and protecting the information.
According to the Flashpoint FAQ, content providers who want their names removed from the archive are encouraged to get in touch. Although it states that “we aren’t unreasonable,” the company will likely try to persuade you to give it to them so they may store it for historical purposes.
So, do you violate any laws? It’s challenging to know for sure. Despite the murky copyright situation, many creators have consented to include their works in the repository. The majority of the original host websites no longer exist. Without the hidden techniques, Flashpoint uses, most of the content fails to function.
Many flash games fall under “abandonware,” or software that has been “abandoned” by the copyright owner.
It’s a difficult legal area to traverse, much like when getting ROMs from the internet. But the technology behind Flashpoint is legal, just like emulators themselves.
Despite possible copyright issues, some of the games in this collection have achieved far greater success. There’s a strong chance that an old favorite of yours is now playable on a mobile device or may be bought on Steam or another gaming platform.